Terra in Print: Fall 2012

Tough Stories

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Some stories are harder to tell than others, but a magazine about university research has a duty to not shy away from the tough ones. Some topics invite debate because the public that pays for the work is divided. Nuclear power comes to mind. So do population growth and immigration. Telling these stories requires soul-searching and sensitivity on the part of writers, editors and designers. In this and the next two issues, we tackle another one: the use of animals in research.

Oregon State University doesn’t use primates in research, a practice that has engendered controversy when cases of inhumane treatment and needless suffering have surfaced elsewhere (read Deborah Blum’s classic The Monkey Wars). But OSU scientists use mice, rats, fish, snakes, horses, dogs and cows — about 400 species in all — to study the complexities of biological processes. Terra has written about such work in the past: mice and bone development; dogs and cancer; wild horses and reproduction; zebrafish and embryonic development.

It’s no exaggeration to note that millions of human lives have been saved by research based on animals. Polio vaccines and stroke treatments were developed through tests on monkeys. Insulin was discovered through work on dogs. At OSU, scientists have learned about immune system function through work on mice. Others have used zebrafish to demonstrate a connection between animal behavior and BPA, a chemical used in cans and plastic bottles.

Animals also benefit from the knowledge gained. Treatments for feline leukemia have arisen from work on HIV/AIDS. Surgical research has contributed to hip and heart-valve replacements for dogs.

No one is happy about having to euthanize animals, even for the greater good. Scientists are understandably nervous about public reaction to animal research, but in our experience, they are also highly committed to caring for the animals in their charge, making sure that the animals’ health and social welfare are maintained to the highest standards. OSU’s recent national accreditation for its practices in animal care underscores that commitment.

Nick Houtman

Editor

The Ethic of Care

The Ethic of Care

Fall 2012, Healthy People, Stewardship, Vitality

The three rats snoozing in Cage 57 don’t know it, but they could someday help save thousands of human lives. Snuggled in their EcoFresh bedding, the rodents are digesting a meal that may hold clues to preventing colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. On their cage, equipped with HEPA […]


High Grades for Animal Care

High Grades for Animal Care

Fall 2012, Healthy People

In awarding full accreditation to Oregon State University in March, AAALAC offered the following remarks to Rick Spinrad, vice president for research. “The Council commends you and your staff for providing and maintaining an excellent program of laboratory animal care and use.” Especially noteworthy, the council said, was the high level of administrative commitment to […]


Doctor at the Top

Doctor at the Top

Fall 2012, Healthy People, Vitality

A human life can pivot on the quirkiest of convergences. In the life of Helen Diggs, it was the accidental nexus of five unfortunate hikers, a bagful of poisonous mushrooms and a few heroic pigs that set change in motion. It all started early one morning in 1988 when Diggs, then a young veterinarian, heard […]


A Whole Lot of Seriousness

A Whole Lot of Seriousness

Fall 2012, Healthy People, Vitality

“Nothing is more important in an animal study than the animal itself,” says Steve Durkee. His tone is reminiscent of Moses handing down the stone tablets. Just like Moses, Durkee is not kidding around. The righteous idealism that fed Durkee’s Greenpeace activism in his “younger, wilder days” still beats in his chest as administrator of […]


Ten Discoveries at Oregon State

Ten Discoveries at Oregon State

Fall 2012, Healthy People, Vitality

With the help of animals, Oregon State scientists have made important discoveries in human health (see The Ethic of Care). “These findings would not have been possible relying only on cell cultures or experimenting with yeast and bacteria,” says pharmacy researcher Mark Leid. His lab created and used genetically modified mice to discover important roles […]


Drug Test

Drug Test

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet, Vitality

By some estimates, a third to half of the artesunate, an anti-malarial drug, in some countries is counterfeit. The World Health Organization has called for faster, more accurate tests, and now a team of Oregon State University chemists has stepped up with an innovative approach.


Staph Attack

Staph Attack

Fall 2012, Healthy People, New Terrain, Vitality

Deadly staph infections may have a potent new foe: Vitamin B3. Megadoses of the vitamin can help the immune system fight the superbug MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute and other institutions have found. The findings could lead to new treatment options for health officials who have […]


After Fukushima

After Fukushima

Fall 2012, Healthy Economy, Perspectives, Terra Blog

As concern about climate change has grown, nuclear energy — long a polarizing subject — has gained increasing favorability. Its low carbon footprint, reliable power supply and strong safety record convinced many critics that nuclear power should be a bigger part of our energy mix. That newfound favorability suffered a setback on March 11, 2011, […]


Far and Away

Far and Away

Fall 2012, Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Student Research

When you play fetch with a killer whale, it makes an impression. When you play fetch with a killer whale and you’re only 7 years old, it can change your life. For Renee Albertson, the change was a long time in the making. But as she tried first one career and then another, she never […]


Business Partnerships Lead Research Growth

Business Partnerships Lead Research Growth

Fall 2012, Healthy Economy

Oregon State University recorded its second-best year ever in research funding and achieved a new milestone in research support from the private sector in the fiscal year that ended June 30. In all, Oregon State research totaled almost $281 million last year, just shy of OSU’s top research performance achieved in 2010. Meanwhile, private sector […]


Spinrad to Lead Ocean-Observing Group

Spinrad to Lead Ocean-Observing Group

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet, New Terrain

Oregon State’s vice president for research, Rick Spinrad, has been tapped to chair a federal committee on ocean observing systems. The 13 marine scientists, conservationists and industry stakeholders will advise the Integrated Ocean Observation System, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on data collection, management and technological innovation. As a former […]


The Biscuit Fire 10 Years Later

The Biscuit Fire 10 Years Later

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet, Stewardship

The 2002 Biscuit Fire not only torched a half-million acres in Southern Oregon, it became a poster child for the debate over post-fire management and forest recovery. When the journal Science accepted a paper on the fire’s aftermath by then-graduate student Daniel Donato, it ignited a long-smoldering debate over what, if anything, should be done […]


Eco-roofs and Earthquakes

Eco-roofs and Earthquakes

Fall 2012, New Terrain, Stewardship

Growing greenery on roofs brings many benefits. Buildings stay cooler, saving energy. Roofs last longer, saving money and materials. Birds and insects find new habitat, helping ecosystems. And green roofs make urban spaces more aesthetically and spiritually pleasing, as well as reducing heat-island effects for city dwellers. But there are some costs that need to […]


Contributing to the Mars Mission

Contributing to the Mars Mission

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet, New Terrain

NASA’s quest for signs of life on Mars got a huge boost in August when Curiosity landed on the Red Planet.


Forms from the Sea

Forms from the Sea

Earth, Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

During a Pacific Ocean research cruise, Angel White peers into her microscope. The ship rides gentle swells and sways side to side. In her field of view, organisms the size of dust motes rise and fall through their own watery world. “It can be disorienting and enthralling at the same time. The microbes are dying […]


Drifters

Drifters

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

                Artist statement — Sara McCormick. My work is a form of digital art know as fractals: mathematical and natural forms that exhibit what’s known as self-similarity. Using a computer I render mathematical formulas into art of infinite depth and detail. More than anything else for me, my […]


The Collection

The Collection

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

Artist statement — Chi Meredith. I am a professional artist and also a retired oceanography research assistant. When asked to contribute to the da Vinci Days project, I anticipated making a two-dimensional oil painting of the beautiful photographs Dr. Angelicque White took of plankton gathered from the ocean.  However, while in North Carolina last winter, […]


Emiliania coccolithophore

Emiliania coccolithophore

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

                    Artist statement — Ella Rhoades. I went literal in my interpretation of Angelicque White’s photographs. The imagery of life beneath the microscope lends itself so beautifully to mosaic form. Optical filters are remnants from the oceanographic industry and generated the color palette for this piece […]


Parum Aqua Flora

Parum Aqua Flora

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet, Inquiry

  Artist statement — Sidnee Snell. I was originally attracted to the lacy quality of sections of Angelicque White’s photograph. However, as I began to work with it, a floral image began to appear. Although I have no idea whether the plankton should be considered flora or fauna, I decided to follow that theme. The […]


Leviathan

Leviathan

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

Artist statement — Rakar West. All of Dr. White’s images of plankton are very beautiful and interesting to me. The one I chose as my main inspiration is the composite image of the cyanobacteria, protozoans and metazoans. My painting, Leviathan, refers to the food chain (or web), but is not a literal depiction. The word […]


Tondos

Tondos

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

Artist statement — Jenny Gray. My work Titled “Tondos” is based on looking  at the Plankton rather than the Plankton itself, I just keep thinking  of these scientists looking and looking through the microscope. My work is a mixed media piece, collage and paint and drawing. Eugene, Oregon 2012 For other works submitted to the […]


Drifters 1

Drifters 1

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

  Artist statement — Leah Wilson. My paintings are created in the intersections of science, philosophy and art. Years ago, I created paintings in response to the natural river environment — the effect of light, movement and rhythms of its elements. The elements, especially water, provide a framework, a reference to return to in the […]


Benthos

Benthos

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

                        Artist statement — Jerri Bartholomew I am not a formally trained artist. Instead, my education is in science, having received degrees in fisheries and microbiology at Oregon State. This background informs and influences my art. I enjoy the anticipation of opening the kiln […]


Blue Button

Blue Button

Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

Artist statement – Sandra Schock-Houtman There are infinite possibilities when one uses the Earth and its progeny as sparks for creativity.  I found Dr. White’s photographs of plankton engaging at first sight. The biggest problem I encountered in creating work for this show was choosing one photo to focus on! For several years, I have […]


Partners in Science

Partners in Science

Fall 2012, Innovation

The Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry has been created through a collaboration of state, federal and private sector partners.


Under the Hood

Under the Hood

Earth, Fall 2012, Healthy Planet

Mount Hood last erupted more than 200 years ago, but at Crater Rock, not far from the summit, the signs of volcanic activity are unmistakable. Gas vents and hot springs emit sulfur fumes. Vapors rising from deep under the mountain carve snow caves, which can seem like sanctuaries for climbers but often hold deadly concentrations […]


Behind the Screens

Behind the Screens

Fall 2012, Healthy Economy, Innovation

Some of today’s flat-panel TV and computer screens are nearly as big as a living room wall. They bring us unimaginably sharp detail, from the spots on butterfly wings to the grimace on a linebacker’s face. Whether hooked up to your cable feed, DVD player or wi-fi, this technology is becoming integral to daily life. However, our love of flashy high-res has a dark side.


The Milky Way

The Milky Way

Fall 2012, Healthy People, Student Research, Summer 2012, Vitality

When Rachel Miller was shadowing a pie scientist in her hometown of Spokane, Washington, no one — not her teachers, not her parents, and certainly not she herself — could have predicted that her high school job shadow would lead to possibly the coolest summer internship in the universe: tasting ice cream in France. OK, […]


The Earth Burps and Burns

The Earth Burps and Burns

Earth, Fall 2012, Healthy Planet, Student Research, Summer 2012

When the Earth burps, WeiLi Hong listens. Whether Earth’s gaseous emissions bubble up from “mud volcanoes” on the planet’s surface or seep out of fissures on the ocean floor, the Oregon State University Ph.D. student has his monitoring gear to the ground. And sometimes, he’s actually in the ground. “I fell in twice,” Hong admits, […]


Legacy of a Whale

Legacy of a Whale

Departments, Earth, Fall 2012, Features, Healthy Planet, Stewardship, Student Research, Summer 2012

Rain was pouring hard the day Renee Albertson first connected, face-to-face, with a marine mammal. She was a 7-year-old visiting British Columbia’s Sealand aquarium (Canada’s now-defunct answer to California’s SeaWorld) with her mom and dad. The daily show had been cancelled because of the downpour. The usual crowds were absent. As the soggy trio from […]